I don’t write tutorials often, largely because I find that since I’m still learning how to do stuff and I’ve not mastered all that much.
Sometimes I think it’s worthwhile sharing what I’ve learned NOT to do, so that you lovely folk don’t fall into the same mistakes I did. Why? Because Resin’s expensive, and unlike Worbla, if you fuck up, you can’t just melt it down and start over.
Although I did learn that if you heat resin it gets squishier.
The 10 Commandments of Resin:
I – Thou Shalt Read the Instructions.
I ended up using Gedeo Coloured Resin, mixing up Some of the Lapis (Blue), the Jade (Green) with the Crystal (Clear) to match the colours of my source costume for Otakuthingy.
Gedeo Resin, available at art stores and craft stores. Pricy but works wonderfully.
Because that meant I was buying more than one box, it meant I was investing a lot into this and I wanted to be daaaaamn sure I didn’t waste much. So I read, and re-read the instructions.
II – Thou Shalt Wear Gloves
Resin that isn’t cured is sticky sticky STICKY. Wear gloves while mixing and be careful not to spill your expensive resin over your kitchen counter ;_;
If you do, I hear the best way to clean it up is with Isopropyl alcohol. *sob* I hear, it never happened *sniffle* to me. *SOB*
The Gedeo kits come with the crappy sets of gloves that are clear plastic, but I prefer using latex, or nitrile. I pick up boxes at my local hardware store.
III – Thou Shalt Measure Carefully
As per Commandment 1, read the instructions to know what ratio you’re mixing. Some resins are 1 to 1, some are 2 to 1. THIS IS IMPORTANT. I may have a friend who was frustrated as to why her gems weren’t curing when she’d carefully mixed up 1 to 1… on a 2 to 1 resin.
THAT SHIT MATTERS, YO.
IV – Thou Shalt Mix Well, then Mix Again.
My first batch of gems came out awesome. My second and third had a couple of issues where there were patches of uncured resin at the tops of the gems. At first I was worried that moisture had gotten into the pre-mixed colours, and thought I’d have to toss the rest out. Cue quiet sniffles as I searched for alternate issues.
Turns out, I wasn’t mixing well enough. See, you mix up your resin in a little cup and you’re like ‘yeah, that shit’s totally 100% homogenous now.’ BUT IT’S NOT. You have to pour that into a second little dixie cup, and mix it with a new stir stick (or if cheap like me, the other side of the current stick), and THEN pour it into the moulds.
And that’s how to avoid those obnoxious wet patches in our gems.
V – Thou Shalt Not let moisture into your saved Liquids
I mentioned above that I was worried moisture got into my saved liquids. I was doubtful, because I’d mixed them up and put them into empty ketchup bottles like this:
I got mine from the local dollar store.
But one of the things that can go wrong is that moisture gets in and fucks your resin shit up by diluting the chemicals that will react with the hardener. (Hue hue hue).
Likewise, if you have water drops in your mold when you add resin, or it’s suuuuper humid, you might have problems getting your gems to harden. (HUEHUEHUE).
VI – Thou Shalt be Patient, Thy Resin Will Cure When It Damn Well Wants.
I didn’t expect Resin casting to take so looooong. I mean, each casting takes 12+ hours to fully cure in optimum conditions. I was casting in the heat and humidity of Ontario Summer. Don’t laugh, it does get hot in Canada, and disgustingly humid.
Unless you’re like… Storm, you’re stuck waiting on the elements. Or you know, you’re one of those fancy pants with Air conditioning. In the meantime, do other important things. Like Worbla.
VII – Thou Shalt be Inventive with Molds
My first mold only let me cast 1 large circle, 2 small circles and 2 ovals at a time. Which would have been okay… if I hadn’t needed this many:
Total: 40 EFFING GEMS.
Yeah… that’d take… way too long. Just way too long. So I googled around and realised that I could use a (CLEAN) paint palette and ice cube tray to speed up the process. I finished the rest of my casting in a day, and it was glorious.
Also from the dollar store. Perfect size, and can mass-cast! Woo!
VIII – Thou Shalt Remember Mold Release if Thine Mold is Not Smooth
So, the palette worked perfectly. Better even than the mold that was specifically for resin casting. It was the right size and shape and when the resin had cured, I just had to push around the sides and the gem would pop out.
The paint palette. 3-4 $ and worked as well as the 10$ mold
The ice cube tray had silicone bottoms to make pushing the ice out easier, but with the little bumps, the resin was harder to get out. Since I didn’t think to put in mold release, out came the hammer.
Resin’s pretty resilient.
IX – Thou Shalt Coat the Underside of Thy Gems With Foil
How do you make gems glow? By putting reflective shit on the back. Some tutorials suggest tin foil, and I’m sure you can use silver leaf, but I found this magic, magic stuff.
Sterling Silver. Slightly disappoint it wasn’t named ‘Quicksilver’.
Two coats and it’s like liquid silver on the back. Since it clings directly to the resin, there’s no distortions of the light, and it makes the gems glow like nothing else I’ve seen so far. Plus, you can wear it as nail polish. Awesome amirite?
X – Thous Shalt Mask thy Gems Well Before Painting
Because of the way my costume for Otakuthingy is structured, I needed to embed the gems into worbla, and therefore put them in before I’ve primed and painted. In order to keep the primer, paint and wood glue from fucking up my pretty shinies, I made damn sure to mask them well with tape.
X- A – When In Doubt, Consult the Google.
Seriously. Whatever your problem, someone’s probably run into it before.
Best of luck! Back to the sweatshop for me,